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Owned by Membership for 83 years

                                                                                                                                                               Photo Submitted by IECA
The original REA Inter County Electric offices on Main Street where Hatch Insurance and Woody’s Flowers are currently located.
By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

  October is National Cooperative Month and in celebration, Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association held their Annual Member Appreciation Day in Licking on Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the local branch office and IECA headquarters, 102 Maple Avenue. Appreciation Days were held at the Mtn. Grove Branch office on Tuesday, Oct. 1, and the Rolla Branch office on Thursday, Oct. 3. They are planned for Tuesday, Oct 22, at the Roby Citizens Center and at Summersville Square, Thursday, Oct. 24. Hot dogs, chips and soda are served and a $25 electric credit drawing will be held for each location.
  IECA is non-profit and member-owned. The leadership, directors and employees are not only members themselves, but are our friends, neighbors and family.
  All employees are trained in CPR, First Aid and human resource interests. Linemen have this training and also undergo extensive training for certification with the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC). There are 62 operations linemen employed at IECA. The apprentice linemen are paired with the journeyman linemen and continue their education with the long-time experience offered by the journeyman. The linemen have assisted with mutual aid, most recently in central Florida after the November 2017 Hurricane Irma disaster.
  There are also 19 engineers that work outside and inside the office supervising, among other responsibilities, staking of the lines. Thirty-eight employees make sure that communications are consistent, open and flowing smoothly, with everything from member services and accounts, IT, accounting and administrative.
  It is no small job providing electricity to the over 24,000 members serviced by Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association. This membership, in comparison to 364 members in 1938, shows great growth. Intercounty Electric Cooperative currently serves 30,439 meters in ten South Central counties including Dent, Phelps, Texas and parts of Crawford, Gasconade, Laclede, Maries, Pulaski, Shannon and Wright, and has 5,604 miles of line, including residential, farm and commercial.
  The board of directors is elected by the local membership in three districts, North, Central and South. Three directors in each district maintain equal representation for all members. They serve three-year terms on a rotating basis with one newly elected director in each district, each year, to ensure there are always experienced directors for each district. The directors establish operating policies and exercise all powers of the co-op except those reserved to members or delegated to the CEO. Any member who is interested in serving on the board is welcome to make the nominating committee aware of their interest and petition to serve on the board.
  The co-op is funded by member electric bill payments and Capital Credits, both operating and allocated capital. The members receive Capital Credit Allocations and when they are retired, a check is issued to the applicable parties. The co-op member business is conducted in June each year at the Intercounty Electric Co-op Annual Membership Meeting.
  With an ongoing commitment to the community, the co-op is active in several ways. One not-for profit program is Operation Round-Up, which is fully funded by the membership. Members round up their electric bill to the next whole dollar, providing the funds for 100 percent local distribution. The program donates to local organizations and assists individuals and families in time of need. Seven delegates of the Intercounty Charitable and Educational Foundation designate these monies. Among the local organizations in our community that benefit are the Texas County Museum of Art & History, G-Ma Pam’s Rack Pack (a local cancer assistance program), and The Licking United Community Help Center. Assistance has also been provided to individuals and families for rent, gas bills, handicap ramps, car repairs and like needs.
  Says Heather Satterfield, Director of Communications, “The delegates are incredible stewards of our money in this program.” Each application is thoroughly checked before action is taken and when help is rendered, the assistance does not go directly to the applicant but on behalf of them to the source of need, for example, the landlord, when rent assistance is needed. Any need except electric bills will be considered. An application may be obtained through the IECA website or by calling any of the Intercounty offices.
  The co-op supports local 4-H and FFA students at local livestock fairs, such as the Powertown Presentation at Beef Days. It also participates by sending local students to Jefferson City and Washington D.C. in the Electric Cooperative Youth Tour program. The students are immersed in democracy in action for a week.
  IECA also does energy efficiency, informational and safety presentations at fairs, local organizations, schools, including homeschool, churches and the annual membership meeting. If there is an interest in any of these no-cost presentations, the co-op is happy to help; simply contact any office.
  The offices also lease Generlink, an at-the-home transfer switch device that connects a generator to your home. Additionally they sell surge protection and weather radios.
  Limited Internet service is provided with the hope of future expansion. After the purchase of a Raymondville Internet supplier, Train, which is now InterConnect and a subsidiary of IECA, Internet service remained available to Train’s existing customer base. New membership has been added to the internet service where available. The co-op is hoping to expand this service but will not leverage membership’s money to do so. If one is interested in availability, call the Intercounty office and they will be happy to assist with current service or your information will be collected for future possible expansion.
                                                                                                                                                            Photos Submitted by IECA
Windback Wednesday from the IECA Facebook page.
  While we now may tend to take electricity for granted, except when the service is disrupted due to weather or other outages, it has not always been so. Imagine a life with no electricity to power lights, appliances, media, technology, or machinery. Likely we have all felt the helplessness that we experience when the electricity is disrupted for even a short time due to a storm.
  Electricity was available in the cities and townships before it became available in rural areas. However in the mid-1930s, city utilities’ electric stopped at the city limits.  “Electric power” first came to Licking in March 1919, when Eckles Thomas installed a 32-light Geno-lite electric plant in his garage. It powered his compressor and small machinery.
  In January 1929, Jack Potts, supervisor for the Ozark Central Light and Power Company, and Ed Whitaker, foreman, came to Licking and met with members of the town board and businessmen about running a high line through Licking and wiring the town. The town board passed an ordinance granting a franchise to W.R. Fisher, consulting engineer of St. Louis, to furnish Licking with electric lights. When put to vote, it passed 142 to 12. Service was to begin January 1, 1930. This brought light to Licking, but rural areas remained “in the dark.”
  The federal government passed the Tennessee Valley Act in May 1933. This was followed by federal assistance, becoming a reality with the New Deal Program instituted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Executive Order #7037 established the Rural Electrification Administration (REA), May 11, 1935. Through the REA, loans would be available to finance and establish guidelines, making electricity available to rural areas. By June 18, 1936, 86 Licking, 38 Raymondville and 15 Indian Creek farm families had signed up to begin the incorporation of the Intercounty Electric Cooperative Association.
  Intercounty was formed and incorporated December 12, 1936. A contract was signed with the government in 1937 for a loan of $142,000 to construct electric lines. Only members could be customers and the subscription was $5.00 for one share of the stock. This would bring electric to rural homes.
  Work started on August 21, 1937; board members successfully obtained right-of-way permits from landowners and a man and team earned $2.50 per day clearing the right-of-way.
  Still homes had to be wired and pass inspection; the co-op would help arrange the financing cost to homeowners. These loans could also be used to drill deep wells for a permanent water supply.
  According to The Licking News, around 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, 1938, 240 IECA members had electricity. The newly completed lines reached from Salem to Summersville. Not all members received electricity on this day, as wiring and inspections had not been completed at all homes. “The value of electricity and the possibilities it brings to the communities served by this line cannot be fully recognized.” - The Licking News.

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